Headlines — July 27, 2022

July 27, 2022

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Colorado To Miss 2024 Ozone Reduction Deadline, Again

An independent board that oversees Colorado air quality announced yesterday that Colorado will not meet the EPA’s 2024 requirement of reducing toxic levels of air pollution.

The state, the board noted, will meet a more relaxed and older air quality standard. 

The announcement comes after the EPA announced plans to downgrade Denver and the northern Front Range air quality from serious to  “severe” violators of federal ozone in April. 

In July, Denver, Aurora, Boulder Broomfield, and other environmental groups sent a letter to the regional air council demanding action and providing suggestions for ways to cut toxic emissions. 

 The Regional Air Quality Council is accepting public comment on its State Implementation Plan through Wednesday.

LoDo Shooting Follow Up

The man Denver Police blame for prompting a mass shooting earlier this month in the LoDo entertainment district was in court yesterday. Prosecutors charged twenty-one-year-old Jordan Waddy with three counts of possession of a weapon by a previous offender and one count of third-degree assault.

Waddy remains hospitalized for gunshot wounds incurred during the July 17th incident in which police opened fire on a crowd outside of bars and clubs on Larimer and 20th in Denver. Six other bystanders sustained bullet wounds. 

Police say they discharged their weapons because they thought Waddy was reaching for a gun. The officers who opened fire have been put on administrative leave. Under a new law, Denver Police have 21 days to release body cam footage of the incident.

Denver Police Arrest Two Denver Police Officers For Theft 

In a separate case, the Denver Police Department yesterday announced the arrests of two of their own officers. Micheal Pineda and Santana Pineda, father, and son, are under investigation for felony theft. Both officers were taken into custody.

They face allegations of billing of duty hours to a private employer for hours not actually worked.

The two officers were placed on paid leave earlier this month pending a review of video evidence and time sheets. Administrative review and the disciplinary process by the department will resume after the adjudication of the criminal cases. If convicted of felonies, they will no longer be able to work as police officers in Colorado according to Colorado Peace Officer Standards and Training policy.

A Lawsuit Aims To Protect Western Colorado’s Air From Arch Coal’s West Elk Mine

Yesterday, conservation groups sued the Polis administration for allowing West Elk Coal Mine in Gunnison Valley to pollute more than federal and state clean air laws allow. West Elk is the largest coal mine in Colorado and emits dangerous levels of “smog-forming volatile organic compound emissions, methane and greenhouse gasses.”  

According to a Sierra Club press release, The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Air Pollution Control Division has missed its window to regulate West elk coal by letting the mine’s permit lapse. ” The state should have approved or denied Arch Coal’s west elk mine last September.

Black, Hispanic, And Homeless People Face Discrimination In Boulder County Criminal Courts

A new study from the Vera Institute, a national organization that focuses on criminal justice reform, has found that black, Hispanic, and homeless people are six times more likely to be arrested in Boulder than white people.

More than 58,000 cases from 2013-2019 from the Boulder County District Attorney’s office were studied by the Vera Institute. The study found that in Boulder, black people are charged with crimes at a rate up to six times more than white people, and Hispanics are charged at a rate of three times more. 

In 2018 and 2019, 34% of people in Boulder County sentenced to prison were Hispanic and 7% were Black. 0.5% of Boulder County’s population is homeless, but 10% of felony cases were those of people experiencing homelessness.

 The population numbers vs. the number of criminal cases throughout the years in Boulder lean heavily towards evidence of racial/class discrimination in the Boulder legal system.